Prospective students soon will be greeted by the Welcome Center when they enter the north doors of the Lighty Student Services building to check out WSU.

In an effort to cater to the needs of potential students, the Office of Admissions is renovating a former Student Advising and Learning Center computer lab to create space for tour organization and informational presentations.

Prior to renovations, the Office of Admissions facilitated individual tours and presentations in its lobby; however, increasing prospective student numbers and outdated technology prompted creation of the new space.

Twice the size of the admissions lobby, the updated center will feature new carpeting and furnishings, as well as current media technologies including high-quality sound equipment and plasma screen televisions.

“The Welcome Center is just one of many steps WSU is taking to showcase what are already great programs on campus,” said Rance Larsen, assistant director of admission.

“With this dedicated presentation space we have the ability to make sure everyone is getting consistent messages about campus. We can then deliver those messages in a way that prospective students expect, using current media technologies.”

Plans for the center have been in the works since spring 2003, when the Office of Admissions proposed the idea during a Student Affairs budget meeting.

Susan Poch, director of the Student Advising and Learning Center, said that while the SALC was using the space for the “Z Lab” — which housed computers and desks for classroom use and was scheduled for Freshman Seminar classes, meetings and training sessions for faculty and staff — the space was not being used to its full potential.

“One thing we know about valuable space is that it needs to be put to the best use,” Poch said. “When discussions began about a place for prospective students that was visible, easy to find and large enough, it became apparent that the Z Lab was the most obvious location.”

While some of the Freshman Seminar classes were relocated to other areas, Poch said the SALC was initially concerned about their visibility to students. The SALC was assured, however, that new signage would be added to alleviate any potential conflict or confusion.

Additionally, ideas are being proposed to determine where other programs that relied heavily on the Z Lab, such as Alive! summer orientation, will be located in the future.

The new Welcome Center is scheduled to be completed by mid-February.